The Hague University

Peace AND justice, Peace OR justice

Double guest lecture by the Mayor and the ICC Chief Prosecutor at The Hague University of Applied Sciences

On 21 February, the students of the international study programmes at The Hague University of Applied Sciences were treated to a unique double guest lecture. Under the title ‘Peace AND justice, Peace OR justice’, Mayor Jozias van Aartsen and the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC Ms Fatou Bensouda explained to their audience what peace and justice mean to them.

Mayor van Aartsen’s guest lecture focused on his city of The Hague, international city of Peace and Justice, where 14,000 people work on world peace at 131 international institutions. He considered the ambitions of the municipality of The Hague and those of the university of applied sciences and wondered how the two can help each other in achieving their ambitions.

Ms Fatou Bensouda concentrated on a question that arises regularly at the International Criminal Court: should people who are guilty of genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity always be brought to justice? Does this not have a polarising effect on the societies they originate from? Does justice foster peace, or is it actually an obstruction to peace? She came to the conclusion that this is a spurious question, because peace and justice are two sides of the same coin that reinforce each other. A good example of this is what is known as ‘the shadow of the courtroom’, the preventive effect of the clear line of accountability evoked by the existence of the court.

Peace and justice are important themes for The Hague University of Applied Sciences, as Rob Brons, Chairman of the Executive Board, had already emphasised in his introduction to the guest lecture. A considerable proportion of the study programmes at the university focus on the interfaces between management, law and security. And by working with its many partners in this field to highlight and investigate all possible aspects of Peace and Security, it hopes to contribute, in collaboration with the Municipality of The Hague, to good governance for a safe world.

Ms Fatou Bensouda talks to interested students after the lecture